California Sun

Good morning. It's Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Study concludes that vaccine prize money doesn't work.
How Mort Sahl revolutionized comedy in the 1950s.
And the 10 most whimsical hotels in California.



It turns out paying people to get vaccinated doesn't work. A study that analyzed data from Contra Costa County found that financial enticements and other nudges failed to increase Covid-19 vaccinations among people hesitant about getting the shot. They actually had the opposite effect on some groups, including people over 40 and supporters of former President Trump. California offered the country's largest pot of vaccine prize money: $116 million. Bloomberg | Wall Street Journal


Oil extraction in Lost Hills, where wastewater has been sinking into the soil.

David McNew/Getty Images

Between the late 1950s and 2008, Chevron disposed of toxic wastewater in eight ponds with a combined surface area of 26 acres in Kern County. They have no synthetic liners to prevent leaking, meaning the wastewater could leak into nearby water sources like the California Aqueduct. "And that’s exactly what happened," Grist reported.


Three months after Gov. Gavin Newsom required state workers to get inoculated against the coronavirus or undergo weekly testing, most state-run workplaces are failing to test unvaccinated employees. At Cal Fire, for example, fewer than a third of workers have provided proof of inoculation. Of 6,700 employees who are unvaccinated or have declined to share their status, just 75 are being tested. L.A. Times


The accommodations at Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast in Upper Lake.

A cottage built from glass bottles near Death Valley, a secluded hobbit house near San Diego, and antique railroad cabooses on the shore of a Northern California lake. Fodors Travel named California's 10 most unusual hotels.


Northern California


In 2019, Christopher Kan wanted to start a program allowing a few homeless neighbors to sleep in their cars in the parking lot of his Palo Alto church. That set off a two-year odyssey. After a public hearing and multiple rounds of proposals, the church actually won approval in May. Then an unlikely opponent stepped in: a low-income senior housing development next door that raised concerns about safety. S.F. Chronicle


Mort Sahl in 1961.

Stroud/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Mort Sahl died. When the comic first took the stage in 1953 at San Francisco's hip nightclub the hungry i, American comedy was largely unadventurous joke-book humor. Sahl delivered fearlessly sardonic monologues on the issues of the day, revolutionizing stand-up and delighting the city's beatniks and college activists. An inspiration to comedians from Lenny Bruce to Dave Chappelle, Sahl would often end shows with the same line: “Is there any group I haven’t offended yet?” He was 94. N.Y. Times | S.F. Chronicle


More In-N-Out locations across the Bay Area are facing a crackdown from health officials over the burger chain's refusal to check the vaccination proof of patrons. Contra Costa County officials on Tuesday indefinitely shuttered an In-N-Out in Pleasant Hill. Other locations, including one in Pinole and another in San Ramon, have faced multiple warnings and fines. In-N-Out has called the vaccination proof requirement "unreasonable, invasive, and unsafe." Mercury News | A.P.


In recent weeks, two homeless men were killed in separate attacks by teenagers in Redding, police said. On Aug. 25, a 17-year-old stabbed a 56-year-old homeless man, police said. Then last week, Alejandro Armstrong, 19, told police he drank vodka, then went for a walk and was overcome with an urge to kill, saying it would “make him feel better.” He fired six bullets at a homeless man inside his tent. KRCR | Shasta County News Source


Southern California


A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Los Angeles County's sheriff and fire chief to testify under oath in a lawsuit brought by Vanessa Bryant. The widow of Kobe Bryant is seeking damages for the emotional distress she suffered after learning that emergency workers took and shared photos of the helicopter crash site where her husband, daughter, and seven others died. The judge said Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Fire Chief Daryl Osby appeared to have “unique first-hand" knowledge relevant to the case. L.A. Times | CBSLA


Disneyland in 2007, when tickets were less than half the current price.

Barry King/WireImage

In 2000, a ticket to Disneyland cost $41. The price just went up to $164. Citing strong demand, the theme park announced Monday that it was raising the price of admission for the fifth time in five years, ranging from $104 on low-demand days to $164 on weekends and holidays. Disney fans lamented how the happiest on place on earth was slipping further out of reach for many households. | People


Carson on Monday declared a state of emergency over a foul smell that has plagued the city in Los Angeles County since early October. The stench, attributed to decaying vegetation in a channel, has been likened to rotten eggs, vomit, and body odor. It's so bad, dozens of residents have left town while others are staying indoors with air purifiers. “It could take out a herd of rhinoceroses,” one resident said. L.A. Times | VICE


One of the best things about a visit to Idyllwild is the drive to get there. In the span of about an hour, the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway soars roughly a mile in elevation from the Coachella Valley floor to the forested enclave in the San Jacinto Mountains. The astonishing variety of scenery along the route led travel writer Ann Marie Brown to recently describe it as one of the most dramatic byways in California. She recommended a stop at the Paradise Valley Cafe, a biker haven founded in 1939 by a woman known as Pistol Annie. |

Below, a sample of vistas along the route.

Sunset in Palm Desert.

Sundry Photography

A segment of Route 74 along the Palms to Pines Scenic Byway.


Tahquitz Rock looms over Idyllwild.


Winding through the Coachella Valley.



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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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